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Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology plans new home in Newton

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  April 11, 2012 09:13 AM

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(MSPP / YouTube)

A video, produced by MSPP, about its plans to move to a new facility in Newton.

The Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology plans to move to a new home in Newton this summer.

The relocation will allow the school to consolidate operations run currently at three different sites – two in West Roxbury and one on Nevada Street in Newton – into one building at 1 Wells Ave. in Newton. The facility is scheduled to undergo a multi-million renovation before the move that the school expects to make in August.

Founded 38 years ago, the private institution offers graduate degree programming in mental health studies to about 525 students, up from less than 150 students who were enrolled there 10 years ago.

During the past decade, the school has increased its degree programs from one to 11; its operating budget has grown from $2.2 million to $20 million; and the school employs 137 faculty and staff, up from the 42 employed in 2002.

“We’re growing out of our shell,” said school president Nicholas Covino. “In the next couple of years we’ll need even more space.”

The school has signed a lease to move into the first four floors, about 50,000 square feet of space, within the six-story building on Wells Avenue, he said by phone Tuesday. In the next several years, the school expects to take over the fifth and six floors from the property’s landlord, New England Development, which plans to use the top two floors as office space in the meantime.

The lease agreement includes an option for MSPP to buy the whole building, which the school hopes to do eventually, Covino said.

The school’s current locations, all of which are leased, comprise about 45,000 square feet altogether.

Covino said the facilities the school uses now are “functional.” The new building will be “state-of-the-art,” “a bigger and more dignified space,” he said.

He said MSPP expects to permanently vacate 221 Rivermoor St. in West Roxbury and the Freedman Center on Child and Family Development at 225 Nevada Street in Newton.

The school hopes to find a future use for its other site, at 208 VFW Parkway in West Roxbury. Covino said the school is in the early stages of exploring the idea of using the space as a “center for social and emotional learning.”

He said the school hopes to expand its overall partnerships, including the mental health services it offers to Boston-area schools like the high school across the street from its location on the VFW Parkway

Architecture firm Gensler will lead the renovation of the facility on Wells Avenue in Newton.

Todd Dundon, project architect at Gensler said that the building will feature “a mix of open and private spaces that feel like living rooms, cafes and study areas, all equipped with white boards and other technology interspersed with classrooms.”

“A student can walk out of a classroom and bump into a professor, and, if they choose to sit and talk, they'll also have technology available wherever they end up meeting," he said in a statement from the school.

"The result is open and inviting and communal," said a statement from MSPP vice president and CFO Patrick Capobianco, who has been among those searching for several years for the right place for the school to relocate.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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(MSPP)

A rendering of the new building after planned renovations.

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